Masked depression can complicate the already complicated issue of mental illness. it is depression that is hidden, as the name suggests. “We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be” ― Patrick Rothfuss. This can happen in many ways. It can be behind a show of happiness and an upbeat attitude, or covered up by expressions of anger.
Often, people living with depression will outright lie about their feelings and symptoms: “I’m fine.” “It’s nothing.” “I’m just tired.” “I’m stressed.” And perhaps the worse yet for any parent or caregiver to imagine.
Happy but depressed.
Depression can lead to, and so be hide the more recognizable condition of addiction to alcohol, drugs, or even food. Atypical masked depression is often a called smiling depression. You can imagine why. And, of course, it is often hidden not only from others, but from those who are living with depression. “I’m just not hungry,” they may tell themselves. “I’ve just got a lot on my mind.” “Things are just a bit rough right now. I’ll be okay soon.” “Me?” they might say with an incredulous smile or laugh. “Nothing’s wrong. Do I look sad to you?”
Masked depression behind the smile.
At this point, you may be wondering: What are the signs? Well, apart from the ‘typical’ signs of depression like changes in eating or sleeping patterns, there are some habits that people with masked depression tend to have. For one thing, they have their own coping mechanisms. Some of these are healthy: going for a walk, to the gym, reading books, listening to music, painting… little things that take their mind of their issues for a little while, and are beneficial to them.
Some of their habits, though, are not so healthy. No parent likes to think like this, but new cuts on their bodies that they have ready excuses for may have been self-inflicted. They may seek love and affirmation from people who mean them no good, and ignore warnings to avoid such people. People with depression may feel an overwhelming sense of lack of control, and seek to find control over any aspect of their lives, and so may, especially as children and teens, rebel against authority figures.
Masked depression symptoms and happy teenagers
At the core, people with depression crave love and acceptance, even if they don’t realize it themselves. But then, we all do, don’t we? They may put up barriers, they may lash out (especially if they’re teenagers), but don’t give up. By offering your love, you are offering treatment that will help them overcome this struggle.